Vilnius OverviewVilnius is the capital and largest city in the country of Lithuania. It has a population of more than 500,000 residents and is located in the valley between the Neris River and the Vilnia River in the southeastern part of the country. Visitors come to the city for its beautiful Old Town, impressive architecture, and fascinating culture. In 2009 it was named the European Capital of Culture along with the city of Linz, in Austria.
The climate in Vilnius is humid continental. During the month of January the average temperature is -5 degrees Celsius and in July it is 17 degrees Celsius. On occasion, summer temperatures can climb above 30 degrees Celsius. Winter temperatures rarely climb above freezing and it is not uncommon for lows to drop below -25 degrees Celsius.
SightsVilnius's Old Town dates back to the Middle Ages. At one point it was surrounded by a defensive wall, which defined the shape of the area. Most of the building's architectural style is from the Baroque and Classicism periods with some representation from the Renaissance and Gothic times. During medieval times the city was built with wood and destroyed during fires in both 1513 and 1749. Most of the buildings are from the 19th and 20th centuries. You'll find plenty of restaurants and bars in the old cellars.
Sights around town include the Cultural Reserve of Vilnius Castles, the Royal Palace, Vilnius Cathedral, Cathedral Square, the Bell Tower, the Crooked Castle, the Artillery Bastion of Vilnius Defensive Wall, the Presidential Palace and the Town Hall. Famous churches include St. Anne's Church, the Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard, St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Orthodox Monastery and Church of the Holy Spirit. Museums worth visiting include the Church Heritage Museum, the Contemporary Art Centre, the Customs Museum, the National Gallery of Art, as well as many more.
NeighborhoodsAs a tourist you're likely to spend most of your time in the city's Old Town, referred to as Senamiestis. This is where you'll find the interesting history, impressive architecture, and quaint, narrow streets. There are also many different and diverse churches.
At the heart of the Old Town is Gediminas Hill and the Upper Castle. Cathedral Square is at the bottom of the hill along with the Vilnius Cathedral. Nearby you'll also find the Bernardine Garden and Kalnu Park. Three Crosses Hill is in Kalnu Park. South of Bernardine Garden is the Saint Ann Church and Saint Francis of Assissi Church and monastery. Also nearby is the large white Russian Orthodox Church. Other areas of interest are Rotuses Square and the Gate of Dawn area, Pilies, Sv. Jono, Dominikonu and Traku Streets, and Uzupis.